Binoc­u­lar Vision

Edith Pearl­man

  • Review
By – August 31, 2011

The intro­duc­tion to Binoc­u­lar Vision, a mag­nif­i­cent col­lec­tion of short sto­ries by Edith Pearl­man, is writ­ten by acclaimed nov­el­ist Ann Patch­ett, author of Bel Can­to. Patch­ett explains that when she sat down to review the col­lec­tion she thought she would put a check next to each of her favorite sto­ries. But,” she con­tin­ues, by the time I’d fin­ished read­ing the book, every one of them was checked. Every story.”

When I read Ms. Patchet’s praise, I thought, I know that these sto­ries are sup­posed to be won­der­ful, but how could every sto­ry have been a favorite? She’s exaggerating.”

I was wrong. Ms. Patchett’s assess­ment couldn’t be more accu­rate. By the time I fin­ished read­ing the col­lec­tion I couldn’t iden­ti­fy my favorites either. They are all that good.

Pearl­man is a mas­ter­ful sto­ry­teller. Her plot lines are at the same time coura­geous and charm­ing. Her char­ac­ters, who span the globe from Cen­tral Amer­i­ca to Israel to Lon­don to New Eng­land, are craft­ed with depth, com­plex­i­ty, and human­i­ty. No mat­ter what sit­u­a­tion Pearl­man weaves, whether it be in the midst of a for­bid­den love affair; pre­sid­ing over the bed of a beau­ti­ful, but comatose child; or on a final vis­it with a dying col­lege room­mate, she con­veys each life with the astute ele­gance that dis­tin­guish­es only the most adept of writers.

I can only end with an echo of the clos­ing words of Patchett’s intro­duc­tion, Edith Pearl­man has been a secret much too long.”

Juli Berwald Ph.D. is a sci­ence writer liv­ing in Austin, Texas and the author of Spine­less: the Sci­ence of Jel­ly­fish and the Art of Grow­ing a Back­bone. Her book on the future of coral will be pub­lished in 2021.

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